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Connect with Nature and ESF at the NYS Fair

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry offers hands-on environmental science activities and displays

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Aug. 21, 2023 – Take time to connect with nature at the New York State Fair with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) through offer hands-on activities at their exhibit Camp ESF.

Located in the State Park at the Fair, ESF’s booth offers fairgoers the opportunity to learn about the forests, witness chemistry experiments, make paper and seed balls, pick up tips on how to live more sustainably, and hear about the restoration of the iconic American chestnut tree.

ESF’s experts will also be on hand to answer questions and provide information for interested prospective students and families.

“ESF is proud to continue its partnership with New York State Parks to bring interactive activities to the fair and help visitors get excited about science,” said ESF President Joanie Mahoney. “Fairgoers may be surprised to learn the important role they can play in meeting today’s environmental challenges and how ESF is working to build a sustainable future for everyone.”

Wednesday, Aug. 23 – Friends of the Forest

Learn about the Earth’s forests! Come see how to tap a tree for maple syrup, set up your own LEGO forest to learn about tree harvesting, and find out how to determine how old a tree is. For the forests’ feathered friends, stop by to make a pinecone bird feeder to take home. 

Thursday, Aug. 24 – Handmade Paper

Learn the science behind the paper we use every day by making your own handmade sheet and conducting destructive paper testing. See demonstrations of bioprocessing and chemical engineering products.

Friday, Aug. 25 – Chemistry Demos

How do you make a dry ice bubble? What happens when you combine Mentos and soda? What’s in your water? These questions and more will be answered – and demonstrated – by ESF chemists. 

Saturday, Aug. 26 – Digital ‘Eyes’

See the world through the digital ‘eyes’ of STELLA, a spectrometer that allows scientists to estimate the rates of “eating” carbon and losing water.

Sunday, Aug. 27 – Meet the Ranger School

Learn how to ID trees and use a compass, plus decorate a tree “cookie” to take home. Faculty and students from ESF’s Ranger School will be on hand to lead the day’s activities.

Monday, Aug. 28 – Providing for Pollinators

Find out what you can do to attract pollinators to your yard and why ESF is known as a certified Bee Campus. And for a sustainability twist, play a game to test your recycling knowledge!

Tuesday, Aug. 29 - American Chestnut Restoration

Get up close with the American chestnut restoration project through hands-on demonstrations and fun games focused on this once-iconic tree of the northeast. 

Wednesday, Aug. 30 – Seed Balls and Pollination

Make (and take home) your own seed balls that will bloom with native flowers that will attract pollinators While you’re there, try out an interactive activity about different methods of pollen distribution.

Thursday, Aug. 31 – Mighty Oaks Athletics

Test your putting and cornhole skills with the Mighty Oaks athletes and coaches. Staff will also be on hand for visitors to make a seed ball to take home!

Friday, Sept 1 - American Chestnut Restoration

Get up close with the American chestnut restoration project through hands-on demonstrations and fun games focused on this once-iconic tree of the northeast. 

The  State Park at the Fair is located in front of the Horticulture Building.


The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is dedicated to the study of the environment, developing renewable technologies, and building a sustainable and resilient future through design, policy, and management of the environment and natural resources. Members of the College community share a passion for protecting the health of the planet and a deep commitment to the rigorous application of science to improve the way humans interact with the world. The College offers academic programs ranging from the associate of applied science to the Doctor of Philosophy. ESF students live, study and do research on the main campus in Syracuse, N.Y., and on 25,000 acres of field stations in a variety of ecosystems across the state.